“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
Dear younger Dave and Anne (22 years old and 20 years old),
It’s 2016 and I felt compelled to write a letter to you.
Let me get some bad news out-of-the-way. No flying cars (darn you Jetsons), nothing looks the way Back to the Future showed us, and the Lions still haven’t won anything.
The good news: you’re going to make it.
Here in 2016, we love the life and the marriage we have. I can’t say enough how much love deepens through the years. Christ continues to be our foundation and we’ve learned how to laugh. We legitimately have fun together as having a light heart has created a healthy home.
Your children are the best. They are in love with Jesus and love to serve others. On top of that, they’re absolutely hilarious. I’ll admit, it’s a bit frustrating when you begin to see yourself in them, but watching them grow is a treat. In fact, you could make the humor of your family into a reality show (but you don’t know what a “reality show is yet…that’s coming soon).
The positions God has placed us in have been an absolute privilege to hold. I know preaching feels awkward in 1997, but give it time and practice. You’ll move from groaning at the thought of preaching to losing sleep over the excitement of proclaiming the hope of Jesus. Ministry is fun. And it’s one of the best choices you’ll ever make.
It’s sooooo good in 2016. It’s not to say you won’t have some tough seasons. But you’re going to make it! There will be…
…financial decisions that won’t be the wisest.
…fashion choices you’ll regret.
…parenting blunders with your children.
…and fights over the silliest things.
But you’re going to make it.
There’s going to be tougher moments. Like…
…pastoral moments where you’ll wonder if you’re cut out to minister.
…memories that you’ll wish you could change.
…words you wish you could take back
…decisions you’ll totally question.
…and, unfortunately, you’ll have moments that hurt like hell (forgive the strong language).
Don’t forget: You’re going to make it.
Winston Churchill says it best,
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
This letter is to encourage you BOTH to never stop fighting for your marriage. You will have those moments where one of you will fight for it more than the other…keep fighting. You’ll approach crossroads where you struggle seeing things eye-to-eye. That’s nature…keep fighting. In the face of hopeless feelings and a tunnel with no end in sight…keep fighting. Because “…I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
You’re going to make it.
So now that you’ve been encouraged, I want to give you some last bits of advice in the case you pull out this letter during a “tough season.”
Encourage the effort in each other more than praising results.
It’s okay to say “no” to people so that you can say “yes” to each other. You can never have too much time with each other.
Exercise and healthy eating is beneficial on every level (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual).
Tithing, benevolence, and missions giving needs to go beyond a checkbook.
Friends who are constant discouragers are not really friends; get some distance.
Don’t stop learning.
Celebrate every bit of progress no matter how large or small the progress is.
Less stuff is better than less love; more money, bigger house, and nicer cars do not equate to a healthy marriage. Which leads to my next thought…
Debt is stupid.
Your kids need your time more than material items.
Sex is far less of what the world says and more important than what the church has emphasized.
Be quick to listen; slow to speak.
And lastly, feed hope.
That’s all for now. I’m sure there’s going to be more to learn as we’ve only made it 18 years and plan on going the distance with each other. And with Christ as our foundation, we know all things are possible.
I may write you again as this has been a bit therapeutic. But I just felt the need to encourage you that you can do this. God is faithful. You will make it though.
Love you guys!
Thanks for letting me ramble… (You’ll understand that in 2008 Dave. It’s your blog tagline. Of course, you don’t know what a blog is…never mind, just be ready.)